In Version; Chapter 102, Slade 239

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Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 102:  Slade 239
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 245

“How was the party?” Slade asked as he opened the door to Derek, Vashti, and Kelp 1942.  It was the seaweed that answered.

“I believe Derek turned it into a great success, sharing some of the great music of your people which we had never heard but which our ‘Iorg minstrel was able to grasp and play.”

“Well,” Derek said with an embarrassed air, “I’m not sure I would have called the theme from Super Mario Brothers some of our great music.  Maybe Star Wars.”

“Oh, but it was wonderful; and it certainly saved what was becoming a very boring party.”

“Whatever,” Derek said dismissively, and then “I asked 1942 down here so you would be here when I asked him about this, so if he had questions you could help answer them.”

“Oh?” Slade asked.

“This is the thing,” Derek said, turning toward the Kelp, who seemed confused by the expression, but the boy continued.  “Bob thinks that cultures that have gladiator games usually do so because they have a war somewhere.”

“Right,” Slade said.  “It was certainly true of Rome, the empire in our own history most famed for such games and also constantly at war with someone somewhere.  Gladiator games were a way for young prospects to prove their ability and retired soldiers to earn a living, I think.”

“So that makes us think,” Derek said, “that somewhere in your universe either there is a war or someone is expecting there to be one.”

The Kelp didn’t seem to realize that there was a question in that, so Slade clarified.  “Where is the war?”

“Oh!” the surprised seaweed responded.  “I’m sure that’s wrong.”

“How sure?” Slade said.

“Well, I think we would know if there were a war somewhere.  The games are just games, something for us to wager on.”

“And you think that the Emperor is putting forward all this money and risking the lives of so many of his citizens just so you can bet on the outcomes.”

“No, not only for that.  It gives an outlet to the warrior races such as yourselves.  You get to be involved in the fighting to which your nature presses you in a controlled environment.”

Slade nodded, but said, “That doesn’t sound right to me.  I mean, I can’t speak for all those other warrior races, but for myself, I fight to prepare myself for war, to keep myself fit and ready.  If I didn’t think that combat was in my future, I could stay fit and healthy in a lot of less dangerous ways.  Weight lifting.  Tennis.”

He heard a stifled chuckle from Derek, and realized that he really would look funny on a tennis court.

“I think someone thinks there’s going to be a need for warriors.”

“Let me agree with that,” Derek said.  “I only learned how to fight because I needed to defend myself against others.  A sport designed to encourage aggression and train fighters just screams a need for warriors.”

“Well,” 1942 said a bit less certainly, “I am unaware of any such thing.”

“Yes,” Derek said, “but you have access to the AI.  If someone is hiding something, that would be the way to find out.  I could probably hack in through the connection in my apartment, but even with my superior technology it would be a challenge and I might be caught.  You already have a pipeline to the inside.  You could find out, and then you would know with certainty.”

Slade added, “You wouldn’t have to wonder whether we were right and war was coming but nobody told you.”

That seemed to unsettle the Kelp.  He didn’t say much after that, and excused himself when Shella announced that she was serving dinner.

Next chapter:  Chapter 103:  Beam 186
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #493:  Verser Engagements.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Re Verse All

In Verse Proportion

Con Verse Lea
Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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